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Can I Choose Any Name I Want For My Company?

Can I Choose Any Name I Want For My Company?

There are a few restrictions on names you can choose for your company – if you’re aware of these, your application to Companies House is less likely to be rejected

When choosing a name for your company, it must meet certain requirements set out by the law. Companies House will reject your name if it doesn’t adhere to a number of restrictions and controls.

The ending of your company name is prescribed by law. For example, if you are forming a private limited company, your company name will automatically have “limited” or “ltd” on the end, but if your registered office address is situated in Wales, you may use “cyfyngedig” or “cyf” instead.

For public limited companies, you must use [Your Company Name] plc. There are also other forms of words which can be used to describe a particular form of company, such as a Community Interest Company (CIC) or Right To Manage (RTM).

Besides the rules which demonstrate company type, there are also regulations which prevent people from registering names that are too like an existing name on the Companies House register. This is to minimise the risk of public confusion when it comes to which company is which.

To determine whether a proposed company name is the “same as” one that already exists, Companies House controls the use of certain characters, signs, symbols and punctuation in a company name.

When determining whether a name is too similar or not, certain words are disregarded, these include:

  • limited
  • unlimited
  • public limited company
  • biz
  • co
  • com
  • company
  • UK
  • United Kingdom
  • Wales
  • Cymru
  • net
  • services
  • international
  • the
  • www

Companies House also disregards any blank spaces between or after a word, expression, character, sign or symbol; punctuation including a full stop, comma, colon, bracket, apostrophe and the following characters: “*”, "=", "#", "%" and "+" when used as one of the first three characters in a name; and "s" at the end of a name (irrespective of whether it is a plural).

Additionally, when comparing one name with another, Companies House will regard certain words and expressions as the “same as”, for example: “and” and “&”, “plus” and “+”, “1” and “one”, “$” and “dollar” etc.

Companies House provides the following examples:

“Hands Limited” is the same as:

  • Hand-S Limited
  • H and S Public Limited Company
  • Hands: Ltd

“Catering Limited” is the same as:

  • Catering UK Limited
  • PLC
  • Catering International Ltd
  • Catering Company Services Public Limited Company

There are some exceptions to the “same as” rules. It will not be applicable in circumstances where the proposed company will be part of the same group as an existing company and the existing company consents to the registration from the proposed name. The application will also need to include a letter or statement from the existing company which confirms its consent to the incorporation of the new company name and that it will be part of the same group.

We would advise that you refrain from ordering any stationery, business cards or other accessories with your company name until you are sure your name is approved at Companies House and preferably until you have your Certificate of Incorporation.

To minimise the risk of your application to form a company being rejected, we recommend using our company name search first because this is linked to the Companies House database. We also have some tips for choosing a company name.